Lynn tax service fined for prohibiting employees and clients from wearing masks

The owner of a Lynn tax-preparation service faces $136,532 in penalties for prohibiting her employees and customers from wearing masks and social distancing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Ariana Murrell-Rosario, the owner of Liberty Tax Service, for failing to implement measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“This employer’s willful refusal to implement basic safeguards places her employees at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus,” OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton said in a statement. “Stopping the spread of this virus requires business’ support in implementing COVID-19 Prevention Programs and ensuring that staff and customers wear face coverings and maintain physical distance from each other.”

OSHA opened its March 17  inspection after a referral from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Labor Standards. OSHA found that Murrell-Rosario and Liberty Tax Services:

  • prohibited employees and customers from wearing masks, despite a statewide mask order that mandated businesses to require masks,
  • required employees to work within six feet of each other and customers for multiple hours while not wearing masks,
  •  failed to provide adequate means of ventilation at the workplace and
  • failed to implement controls such as physical barriers, pre-shift screening of employees, enhanced cleaning and other methods to reduce the potential for person-to-person transmission of the virus.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Murrell-Rosario could not immediately be reached for comment.